As a father, physician, scientist and leader of a global R&D organization, I care deeply about the future of healthcare.
Today, we focus much of our effort on treating established disease rather than placing the majority of our resources behind preventing. Someday, the next generations will look back on us and say, “Can you believe it, they actually waited until they had a disease before doing something about it!”
In my opinion, the future of healthcare will increasingly depend on identifying and correctly interpreting the susceptibility to disease, on accurately measuring risk, then on preventing or intercepting disease before its onset. Then, by deploying the latest scientific insights from promising, emerging fields, we shall transform the practice of medicine.
Over the past 100 years, preventive measures such as improved hygiene and vaccines have greatly reduced the impact of infectious diseases. However, the impact of chronic non-communicable diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, various cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes is steadily increasing in most parts of the world.
Healthcare costs continue to rise, and payers are struggling to fund the growing needs of aging demographics. People live longer than ever before. They are likely to spend years or even decades of their lives in declining or poor health. There is an urgent need, both on the individual and socioeconomic level, for strategies to prevent illnesses associated with aging or lifestyle.
To reverse this trend, new approaches to prevent, intercept and treat disease are needed. As part of the world’s leading healthcare company, we at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson are ready to do something about this. It is our responsibility to drive innovation that makes a difference to future generations and ensures the long-term sustainability of healthcare systems.
Today, we announced the launch of three new research platforms focusing on disease prevention, disease interception, and the human microbiome. In addition, we announced our first disease area of focus through the Disease Interception Accelerator group – type 1 diabetes. We’re excited to have the support of the JDRF , a leading research and advocacy organization funding type 1 diabetes research, as we embark on this approach.
The purpose of these new teams is to accelerate the bold vision of Janssen that envisions a time when diseases are an historical artifact. In working closely with our Therapeutic Areas as well as external partners, they will underpin ongoing research and propel scientific knowledge in these areas of significant potential to change “disease care” into healthcare.
I am excited about our new research teams and the promise each of them holds. By advancing science in these areas, we will strive to deliver the next generation of transformational medical innovation.
William N. Hait is Global Head, Research & Development, Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
Artwork Credit: The artwork associated with this post is by Sigrid Knemeyer and is a Keith Haring-inspired illustration of an intestinal microenvironment with an imbalanced microbial community.